March 21, 2010 Command Appearance

Command Appearance

 

In Deuteronomy 16.16, Moses informed the Hebrews who will be going into the Promised Land of God’s requirement that ALL of their men must present themselves before God in Jerusalem three times each year, with an appropriate gift for Him.  There will be one more command appearance before Him that is the subject of this lesson at Easter. 

The Apostle Paul informed the residents in Athens, Greece, of this coming day in Acts 17.30-32. 

 

My questions to you are: is your uniform pressed, and do you have your gift?

 

Times of Ignorance

  • Acts 17.30 reminds of God’s patience and mercy.  He puts up with a lot from mankind. He has delayed judgment, so that people might choose Him without being pressured.
  • But, time is short, even shorter today, and God ‘commands all men everywhere to repent.’  Jesus’ entry into the earth was the beginning of the end.  The end could come at anytime after His resurrection; even today!
  • My favorite definition of ignorance is found in Jeremiah 13.10. 
  • Ignorance is the absence of truth and occurs when you ‘refuse to hear’ God’s word. 
  • See also Jeremiah 8.8-9 and Jeremiah 9.23-24.
  • When you refuse to hear God’s truth, you begin to ‘walk in the imagination’ of your mind, you automatically begin to ‘walk after other gods to serve them and worship them’, because satan constantly brings lusts and pride to your mind. 
  • Paul illustrates this in Romans 1.18-21.
  • Ignorance will no longer be excused!  Time is up!

Repent Now…Or Else!

  • Acts 17.31 should jolt you awake, as I believe it did the Athenians, with words that drown out all others: God ‘has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness….’  Hosea 14.9 removes all supposition about ‘righteousness’.  It is God’s ways, not man’s ‘imaginations’.
  • The day of His judgment has been set; it is pending, awaiting only His declaration.
  • As stated above, the ‘Judge’ was born, paid with His blood the price for your sin, and arose to be with God forevermore.  The end could come at anytime after His resurrection; even today!
  • This ‘Judge’ gave His criteria for judgment in John 12.48-50.  Will there be ‘balance’ when you are put on the scales of His justice?  How do your deeds express your faith? 
  • Hear, when you read James 2.14-26 and Matthew 25.31-46, sounds from the courtroom on that judgment day.

How will you recognize the ‘Judge’?

  • The last part of Acts 17.31 identifies the Judge as Jesus Christ, God’s only Son!  He is the One that He ‘ordained’ (set apart for this important, specific purpose).
  • God identified Jesus by raising Him from the dead!  ‘O Death, where is your sting?  O Grave, where is your victory?’  The Apostle Peter was the voice of the Holy Spirit’s proclamation of this truth on the Day of Pentecost, in Acts 2.22-24. 
  • Jesus, Himself, prophesied the same in Matthew 12.38-40.
  • Jesus was/is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18.18, Who acted just like His Father;
  • compare John 15.24 to Exodus 34.10. 
  • He was/is the One Whom John the Baptist was looking for in Matthew 11.1-6. 
  • Jesus was/is the fulfillment of Isaiah 61.1-3 (Luke 4.16-21). 
  • He is the only One qualified to Judge!
  • ‘The Judge is coming!’ proclaimed Paul to the Athenians.

Two Alternatives

  • Acts 17.32 records the response of the Athenians to his plea that they ‘repent’: some mocked; some wanted to hear more.  Do you need more time?  Will you have more time?
  • Acts 2.40-41 tells a different response to Peter’s plea ‘be saved from this perverse generation’: ‘three thousand souls were added to them (believers and followers of Jesus)’.  See also Acts 2.19-20 and Acts 4.12.
  • People will decide individually. 
  • Jesus differentiated the few from the many in Matthew 7.13-14.
  • Your and my job is that of Paul with the Athenians. 
  • Prayerfully contemplate 2 Corinthians 5.20-21.

Two Questions

  • is your uniform pressed, and
  • do you have your gift?

Study question for next week:

“Why is the resurrection of Christ the pivotal point, the crux of our Christian faith?”

March 7, 2010 Pride Promotes Strife

Pride Promotes Strife

‘Where do wars and fights come from among you?’ This open-ended, non-rhetorical question from James 4.1 should be asked within marriages, families, friendships, schools, businesses, local and state and national and international governments, etc…wherever two people relate. James was directing his question to believers in churches. Evil pride promotes strife and separation among the body of Christ to weaken our resistance of his schemes that steal, kill, and destroy;

see Isaiah 14.12 and John 10.10.

‘Yet, you do not have because you do not ask’ (James 4.2) focuses attention on the real problem. Let’s consider this issue by looking at James 4.1-10 and Numbers 14.1-11.

 

Teeter-tottering between the flesh and spirit

James 4.2 expresses the same struggle that the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 7.22-25. Jesus, too, encouraged you to ask Him, instead of taking from one another;

see Matthew 7.7-12.

How does John the Baptist’s wisdom in John 3.27 guide your understanding of the struggle?

God, Who knows your hearts, denies your requests because of James 4.3-6.

How does buying a lottery ticket illustrate this point? (You don’t think about missions or alms when you plunk down the money.)

God wants you to look to Him, not to the devil; to cash or debit, not credit cards. How does Numbers 15.39 describe you? (Perhaps, you should tape a note to each check and every card reading: ‘did you ask God first?’)

James says the origin of this is pride.

What similarities and proofs of James’ truth do you find in Isaiah 14.12-15?

How does James 4.7-8a lead you to victory in this tottering? How can you recognize the real enemy in the struggle?

How do Matthew 6.33 and Philippians 4.19, each, explain James 4.10?

What, then, is ‘humility’?

Remember James 1.5-8.

How do these verses apply in the contexts mentioned in the introduction above?

 

Celebration or conflict erupts when two people teeter-totter in the same direction

Who controls celebration? Who controls conflict?

Pride and selfishness have ruined many relationships.

Name some that you have observed and/or experienced.

Numbers 14.1-11 describes the effect on the most important relationship.

Which side of the disagreement would you have been on at that time?

Why?

How were the dissenters ‘despising’ and disbelieving God? See verse 11.

How can the relationship of God’s word and name in Psalm 138.2 encourage you to live more in the spirit?

How do 2 Timothy 3.16-17 amplify this understanding?

What about Paul’s advice in 1 Timothy 4.7-8?

 

So, how do you keep ‘wars’ from creeping into the church?

What was God’s ideal outcome in Numbers 14.11?

Notice His action in 2 Chronicles 16.9a.

Contemplate Isaiah 64.4; are you willing to wait?

How similar is this outcome to James 4.2c?

Hold onto God’s encouragement in Isaiah 55.10-11 and Ephesians 3.20-21.